I’ve just returned from speaking, for the fifth time, to Alan Weiss’s Million Dollar Consulting™ College group in Rhode Island. This college attracts the best and the brightest of the consulting world. My popular topic was “Advanced Internet Presence” – how to leverage your Internet and web site to grow your business.
I am including a recap of some of the critical points I covered in my speech:
- Highway billboard – You are driving down the highway while these huge billboards pass you by, or is it that you pass them by? Which one grabbed your attention, did you get distracted and how long did you get to stare at it? While I hope you practice safe driving, you would probably agree with me that it only took a brief second or so for you go get distracted by the ones that are visually intriguing, with an interesting, clear and concise message. The same applies to your site’s home page. You only have a few seconds to grab one’s attention.
- Strong Value Proposition and Tag line – Visitors to your site should not be confused by your offerings and the focus of your business. It is your one to two sentences of strong value proposition and brief tag line that immediately helps clarify what it is that you do.
- Above the fold – When browsing the front page of most newspapers, you probably have noticed that the most attracting articles and pictures are at the top half of the page, which if folded in half, will be above the fold. Your home page should embody the same concept. The fold line is the equivalent of the bottom of your computer screen. Focus on delivering your attractive, clear and engaging message inside the screen without the need to scroll down. Also keep in mind to never break the cardinal rule of forcing your visitor to scroll right and left.
- Less is more – There is just too much darn text on most home pages. Visitors surf the web to find interesting sites and the majority of them do not read the content of your home page. They briefly browse it and if something grabs their attention, they dig further and then perhaps start reading. Reduce the text on your home page to the bare minimum.
- Don’t make me think – Keep your site simple to navigate and do not force your visitor to have to figure out how to move around your site. Cute flash technology is fun for your web master to code and irritating to most visitors. Include tabs across the top or on the left side or both to represent your major logical components. My personal and professional preference is to click on the tab of interest and then open up the sub tabs navigation. Prevent the design of having to move your mouse over the tabs to explore the sub tabs. It is harder to navigate and most mature audiences (not sure which generation that may be) have a hard time with it. Design a few large, attractive blocks in the middle of your screen to promote and communicate your major offerings.
- Call to action – Make sure each page has a minimum of at least one call to action and possibly more. These calls to action are the suggestion to have your visitor contact you or purchase from you. Here are a few suggestions: Contact us, call us, sign up today, join our mailing list, click here, learn more, take survey, download special report, refer site to a friend, request consultation, order here.
- Deliver value – I keep saying that great content rules the web. Who does not want great advice, especially for free, and interesting products and services? Offer your visitors great articles to read on your site and blog and even ones from great guest contributors. Offer interesting products and services to purchase, audio and video via download or podcasting and other interesting things to explore.
- Create credibility – If I brag about my company it may be perceived as fluff, yet if our clients brag about us it is a proof. The simplest way to establish credibility on the web is through client testimonials both text and especially video. Case studies and a section that describes your typical client results after working with you, are critical in helping create this credibility. I also like to scan the actual letters received so visitors may see them as well.
- Evolution – Don’t pressure yourself that you must have all of these components on your home page and web site immediately. Consider it a strategy in the evolution of your site. Get started and keep on adding content, products and value and before you know it, your site too will become one of your best tools to grow your business.